How to Listen to Your Customers: Market Research Tools Anyone Can Use
One of the most dangerous things a business or organization can do in regards to customers is assume. Many companies assume that just because they have not received negative feedback from their customers, they must be satisfied. Or they may assume they know exactly what their customer needs or wants. However, this is not always the case, and if not remedied, can result in big problems for an organization.
One of your main goals as a company or organization is to determine what your customer wants, and then make sure you go about delivering. However, there is no need to assume a customer's satisfaction level if you strive to find out what your customer thinks of your services, and there are a number of marketing tools anyone can use to help them better serve their customers.
The following are just a few easy marketing tools that can be used to determine customer satisfaction levels, as well as what they feel you can do to improve your products and services.
Comment cards. This is one of the easiest ways to determine how a customer feels about your products and services. A comment card can literally be that - a card the customer actually fills out. Typical comment cards have questions on it specific to the services or products provided, as well as a space for the customer to leave any comments. A comment card can also be electronic and delivered via email. Many companies have links on their websites that allow customers to fill in comments electronically. You may consider providing an incentive as well for filling it out, such as money off their next purchase or a free consultation. This will help to draw traffic to the site.
Surveys. You can do either telephone surveys or mail surveys. Many people are eager to fill in mail-in surveys, particularly if they receive something in return. A mail-in survey differs from a comment card in that it is actually mailed to the customer. If you opt for a telephone survey, be careful not to bother the customer during what you know are particularly busy periods or during lunch time.
Document inventory. You should be keeping documentation or some sort of tracking system of what your customers are buying or not buying from you. If you notice a product that is consistently underselling, consider doing away with it and replacing it with a product similar to one that is very popular.
Talk to employees. Your employees are the ones who interact with the customers the most. Encourage them to relay all feedback to you, as well as ask them what they notice customers seem to be purchasing more or asking about the most. In addition to learning more about your customers, you will also make your employees feel more valued as well.
Be approachable. You should always encourage your customers to feel free to email or call you with any questions, comments, or problems. Be sure to return phone calls and emails as well.
There are many ways of finding out what your customers think of your products and services, and these are just a few. However, knowing what they think and what they want is just the first step. Once you've implemented these marketing tools, it's important to then act on the suggestions or complaints.